Details limited from investigation of VCU student death, fraternity suspension

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Nearly three days after a 19-year-old VCU freshman student was found dead on Saturday morning, details provided by investigators, the university and the fraternity at the forefront remain limited.

Circumstances surrounding the death of Adam Oakes’ of Loudon County are being probed by the Richmond Police Department, however one question seemingly easier to answer also remains unclear: where this tragedy exactly unfolded.

Richmond police say Oakes was found inside a building on the 100 block of West Clay Street, but have not provided an address and who may have been occupying the building.

“I mean it is pretty concerning,” a nearby resident said after admitting to seeing a string of police cars parked Saturday morning; speaking to 8News anonymously for concerns of their safety.

Oakes’ death came after what his family believes to be a possible hazing incident off-campus after receiving a bid to join the VCU chapter of the Delta Chi fraternity–details yet to be confirmed.

8News knocked on doors Monday on the 100 block of West Clay street; a five minute drive from the fraternity house marked with Greek lettering on Cary Street.

On site, some pointed to 138 West Clay Street. No one initially responded to multiple rings of the doorbell and physical knocks to the first floor and street-facing basement door.

Minutes later the 8News crew saw two young men come out the front door, referring any questions to national chapter of Delta Chi; noting they had nothing to provide when asked about what may have happened.  

Police did not confirm what specific address where the freshman’s body was found.

Oakes’ cousin Courtney White tells 8News he may have been coerced to drink a handle of Jack Daniels, was blindfolded and hit his head against a tree to be initiated into Delta Chi.

Today, a spokesperson for the Delta Chi headquarters declined to comment further, saying in an email “we have your email contact information and if we have anything additional beyond what we’ve already shared with you, we will reach out to you that way.”

VCU says Delta Chi was also suspended for a year in 2018 for not complying with the school’s requirements for fraternal organizations.

An online petition was published after Oakes’ death in an effort to expel Delta Chi, launched by VCU senior student Carson Sturgis.

“We all come to college to make friends and it’s just, just so, so sad that he lost his life trying to find his community at VCU,” she said.

Police say the medical examiner’s office will work to determine Oakes’ cause of death, as students plan a memorial to remember Oakes on Wednesday evening.

It is unknown if there are any suspects connected.

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